Since we last checked in on construction at the end of 2015, Toronto's Union Station has continued its transformation into a rail hub for the 21st century. Canada's busiest rail terminal is currently in the midst of a long-term revitalization process, which is gradually seeing a modernized and more user-friendly station take shape. The re-opened GO Concourse has allowed for the closing of the Bay Concourse—now in the early stages of reconstruction—while work continues on the station's exterior and the train shed.
Beginning on Front Street, Union Station's newly revitalized exterior and public plaza is set to be complemented with glass canopies covering the moats that front much of the historic building's north elevation. Just outside the Bay Concourse, half of the temporary staircase providing a connection to the TTC Station has been demolished, with the area being lowered in anticipation of the new lower level to be added inside the building. Wider stairs to the west will be built to handle detoured crowds while the old Bay Concourse is gutted and rebuilt. Glass roof installation will start part-way through the process.
Stepping into Union Station through the reconfigured, but still temporary, TTC access, the revitalized Front Street Promenade—located beneath the Great Hall—is now open all the way west to York Street. Retail is still forthcoming, however, and more details of Osmington Inc's plans are available in our previous editorial.
Indoor bicycle parking has also recently been installed near the newly opened York Street entrance, the expanded facility to open to cyclists in the coming weeks.
Back outside on Front Street—this time at the west end of Union Station—the Front Street moat is now closed to pedestrians and set to be rebuilt, with a new retail and event area planned for it. This moat is set to be the first to see its new glass roof installed, with the Bay Concourse's eastern moat set to follow.
Returning inside—now a level above the Front Street Promenade—we travel east along Union Station's upper level, beginning just east of the Skywalk and UPX. Additional retail is set to join the Ontario Travel kiosk opened last year near the Skywalk, while, slightly further east, the south side of the restored west wing retail area could be set to house a new restaurant.
Continuing east towards the Great Hall, a number of Union Station's historic stairways (leading to the Front Street Promenade below) have also been revitalized, proudly displaying the glimmering brass that, until recently, was coated with decades of grime.
In the Great Hall, east and west ends of the voluminous space are now covered by scaffolds. Workers are gradually refurbishing the interior, while the 1970s wickets at the north end of the hall (seen behind the bright orange tarp cover) are set to be replaced by a split-level restaurant (scheduled to open in 2018), which will architecturally emulate the historic wickets on the south side.
Downstairs, work is continuing in the Bay Concourse, with site clearing and excavation setting the stage for a large-scale revitalization. Much like the new GO York Concourse, the completed Bay Concourse will bear little stylistic resemblance to its previous mid 20th century iteration, with a clean, minimalistic space, better connections to the platforms above, and new retail set to greet passengers.
Meanwhile, progress on the long-awaited Bush train shed roof reconstruction has stalled. Since GO's upcoming electrified trains will require more clearance for the overhead power supply, engineers are currently looking for a way to accommodate the infrastructure without compromising the heritage roof structure. While it is not yet known whether the roof might be raised or the tracks lowered, updated plans are expected soon.
Substantial completion of the Union Station Revitalization project is currently scheduled by early 2018. In the meantime, many more recent photos will give you a fuller idea of the extent of the work now underway. You can find them on this page of our Union Station thread, or for discussion on the Bush shed there is this thread. Otherwise, for more information on and renderings of the revitalization project, visit our dataBase file, linked below. To find out more about the planned retail strategy, our recent article features an in-depth interview with Osmington Inc. CEO Lawrence Zucker.
Want to share your thoughts about the project? Leave a comment at the bottom of this page, or join in the conversation on our Forum thread (where, remember, there are plenty more photos!).
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